Recently, The White Yak had an opportunity to travel to the Everest area in Nepal. This region is home to the story that was inspiration for our company's name.
While we were in the region, we were able to witness the famous Mani Rimdu Festival. The religious festival is held every year among the Sherpa people in different villages. The Tengboche Monastery along the main Everest Base Camp trekking route is a well known spot for observing the Mani Rimdu.
The Khumbu region of northeastern Nepal lies to the south of Mount Everest ("Sagarmatha" in Nepali language and "Chomolungma" in Sherpa and Tibetan languages), the highest mountain in the world. Also this land is home to the Khumbu Sherpa.
The story behind The White Yak name comes from a story about a young man attacked by a bear and near death. The father of the dying man decided to have offer a sacrifice to try to save his son. The father's sacred animal, a white yak, was offered as a living sacrifice by sending it away into the Himalayas. According to the story, the young man survived, and this all occurred during the same time as the Mani Rimdu ceremony.
Still today, the Himalayan peoples, Tibetans and Ethnic Tibetans both, deal with many dangers and troubling times. Bears, earthquakes, and landslides still threaten the people. However, new dangers also threaten them: difficulties for traditional sources of income (the farming, herding, and trading are dying economic supports for these people), cultural loss and even extinction, as well as human trafficking.
We at The White Yak take inspiration from this story of sacrifice. The culture of the Himalayan people has many beautiful aspects, including the traditional textiles. The aprons worn by the Tibetan and Ethnic Tibetan women express their artistic skill, beautiful colors like a rainbow around their waist, the wool taken from their animals, the practical use of an apron as they work hard in home and field, and often indicates that a woman is married.